min read

How to scope a desk booking solution

11 questions to ask yourself before choosing a desk booking solution.

11 Questions to Ask Yourself

Desk booking sounds pretty straightforward, right? You book a desk, turn up, and that’s where you work today, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

If we take a platform approach, we can tailor the desk booking experience specifically for your organization, which means you have to know what you need. To know what you need, you have to ask questions. We’ve put together the most important questions when it comes to developing a desk booking solution

Desk booking or desk availability or both?

Desk booking is the stock standard, booking or scheduling, etc. But it goes against the grain of activity-based working in a way. You should be able to find a space when you need it. You should be able to find the right type of space when you need it. 

If you’re looking for something that is more flexible, maybe scheduling is not what you’re after. Maybe you’re looking for the kind of user experience where people turn up, see what’s available, and take a seat. Then the system will assign that desk to that user for the day, or any rules you define.

Desk booking app on ipad and iphone

Automatically assign desks or allow users to choose?

If space utilization is a concern, automatically assigned desks could be a better option because the system can automatically assign desks that are being underutilized. This could also be applied to safe social distancing practices. 

It could also be a combination of things, let people select desks but apply some restrictions to spread people out evenly.

What rules are needed?

Rules might be, how far in advance can a user book? Can a user book for that day only? How long can a booking be? Can I book a whole week?

Taking all of this into consideration is important because it will end up defining the user experience and user interface elements. It’s important to note that more interface elements mean more complicated solutions and a higher barrier of entry for users.

Do you need real-time information?

If you’re just scheduling the bookings then allowing the user to follow through on their own without any form of verification, then there will be some missing data points. It can still function effectively, but you should consider what impact this will have.

Manual check-in or automatic?

Do you want users to check in when they arrive at their desk or does this happen automatically.

If manual, how manual?

Do you have users check a confirmation box, QR code, or a touch panel? What’s best for you and your users.

What location services do you have access to?

This includes but is not limited to wifi, sensors, cameras, heat-sensors, or BLE devices. This information helps determine the approach. You can check out more on how to choose the best technology to locate users in a building.

How to manage ghost bookings

Defining rules to relinquish no-shows after 15 minutes, 30 minutes, however long you decide.

Will you allow desk holding or reserving?

Maybe a user is running late or they have a meeting for 2 hours elsewhere in the building, can they come back to the same desk, do you need an away status to be applied with duration limitations?


Let’s say you’ve put a desk on hold for 1 hour and you’re approaching the hour mark. The system can automatically send a notification to remind you that this time is coming to an end, what would you like to do? Add 15 minutes or I’m returning now, dismiss the notification. It’s also important to decide what type of notification method you need, SMS, email, Slack message, Microsoft Teams?

What if I don’t have a booking?

Someone has turned up to work without a booking or they weren’t aware yet. There’s no desk for them. Are the rules strict where you don’t let them come inside the building or do you have a buffer where a set percentage of desks are always available for any unexpected fluctuations?

In summary

Asking questions is important, there’s no doubt. And each question in this list could be expanded out to cover almost every aspect of the user experience, it’s just whether or not these questions apply to you. You won’t know unless you ask the question though. Maybe some of these questions only apply to certain types of users. And it doesn’t just stop at desk booking, this extends across every user journey across the entire organization.

You need flexibility.

That’s why PlaceOS is so powerful. PlaceOS is an integration platform that connects every device, software, and system in the building to power real-world experiences.

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